Summer Learning

All students need ongoing opportunities to learn and practice essential skills, especially in the summer, to succeed in school and in life. Yet, each year, there’s a brain drain. Over the summer break, most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in reading achievement and math skills.

This summer learning loss affects a student’s ability to build on what they are learning at school and to reach their potential. It also contributes to the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income students.

As research indicates, more than half of this gap is explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities. As a result, low-income students are less likely to graduate from high school or go to college.

Increasing access in a community to quality summer-learning opportunities is an effective way to avoid summer learning loss. By working together, schools, community organizations and families can make these anywhere anytime learning experiences happen so all students can thrive.

Take Action:
See why summer learning matters on the National Summer Learning Association website

Check out Six Signs of a Great Summer Learning Program on the Summer Matters website


Tips for Parents

The summer months are a particularly good time for parents and families to bond and enjoy some quality time together with fun, learning activities. At home, at the beach or on a road trip, you can find everyday ways to support student learning:

    Literacy – Make time every day for your child to read and talk about a story they like best. Make a sock puppet of a favorite character and re-enact the story.
    Math – Prepare meals together using measuring spoons and cups or kitchen scales for ingredients. Have kids feed pets using a measuring cup to dispense dog or cat food.
    Art – Keep markers, pencils, paper, paint and other supplies on hand for art projects. Gather up recycled materials and clothing for skits, dances or plays.
    Physics – At the beach or in a sand box at the park, compare the depth of big and small footprints due to weight differences.
    Science – Go on a scavenger hunt on a walk or hike to find and identify 5 plants, 5 animals and 5 birds together. Gather a few fallen leaves to take home to make leaf prints with paint and paper.
    Health – Use a pedometer to count steps throughout the day, aiming for 11,000 daily steps (ages 6 to 17). Help your child choose an activity such as walking, basketball or bike riding and encourage one hour of exercise every day.
    Literacy – Play word games in the car such as I Spy to strengthen skills in vocabulary, observation and description.
    Geography – Keep a list of car license plates by state and see who can spot the most states.
    Math – On an outing to a museum, beach or park, have your child show the way on the map. Estimate the distance, and then check to see how close you came.

Making family time for fun, learning experiences and staying active during the school break ensures that children and teens continue to grow their skills for success in school and beyond.

Take Action: For ideas on fun, art activities to do at home, check out the resources on our SMARTS Parents for the Arts Network webpage at:

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